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Elisabeth Hasselbeck Slammed for Sandra Bland Cigarette Speculation

Image: Elisabeth Hasselbeck Slammed for Sandra Bland Cigarette Speculation
TV host Elisabeth Hasselbeck poses for a photo during FOX and Friends at FOX Studios on May 1, 2015 in New York City. (Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015 07:44 AM

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, cohost of "Fox & Friends," has received harsh criticism for a Monday segment in which she suggested that the late Sandra Bland could have attacked a Texas law enforcement officer with her cigarette during a routine traffic stop.

"But, what if, I mean, there are times, I'm sure, someone has, in the history of this land, used a cigarette against a police officer, maybe chucked it at him, pushed it at him," Hasselbeck said during the segment, according to The Wrap. "If he indeed felt it could be a potential threat, was that the wise thing to do?"

Bland, a 28-year-old African-American woman, was arrested during a routine traffic stop and found dead of an apparent suicide in her jail cell on July 13. Her arrest and death have been the subject of nationwide scrutiny following the deaths of Eric Garner in New York and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, who also died in police custody.

On July 10, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia can be heard asking Bland to put out her cigarette during a traffic stop, according to a video released by DPS and shown during Hasselbeck's segment. When Bland refused, the stop quickly escalated, with Encinia pulling out his Taser and ordering her out of her vehicle.

Hasselbeck asked guest, former New York Police Department officer John Rafferty, if the Encinia was justified because he might have been or could have been attacked with the cigarette.

"His own department put him administrative duty," Rafferty said in the segment. "They already recognized that he stepped over the line. When you take someone out of the car, that has to be (because) you feel your personal safety is in danger. It appears … that he took this too personal."

Rafferty said he had people attempt to put cigarettes out on him before and he would not want anyone stepping out of the vehicle to sign a warrant with a cigarette, but the officer was not clear in asking why he wanted the cigarette out.

Erik Wemple, media critic for the Washington Post, charged that Hasselbeck's questioning lacked logic.

"It was here that the trademarked 'Fox & Friends Willful Idiocy Machine' kicked in," Wemple wrote. "Apparently unwilling to accept the very clear evidence that Encinia had overreacted, Hasselbeck plunged deep into her imagination for a hypothetical that could exculpate him."

One social media commenter summed up what numerous others said in their own responses to Hasselbeck's segment.





Related Stories:

Sandra Bland: New Video Released After Cops Accused of Editing Footage



Sandra Bland Arrest Video Edited? DA Announces Murder Investigation


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Elisabeth Hasselbeck, cohost of "Fox & Friends," has received harsh criticism for a Monday segment in which she suggested that the late Sandra Bland could have attacked a Texas law enforcement officer with her cigarette during a routine traffic stop.
elisabeth hasselbeck, sandra bland
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2015-44-29
Wednesday, 29 Jul 2015 07:44 AM
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